This article is written by The Rev. Alex Zuber of Stony Man Lutheran Parish in Luray about his parish’s mid-week services.
Beginning in August of this year, the Stony Man Parish, made up of Beth Eden and Grace Lutheran in Luray has been having time for fun, faith, and fellowship in the middle of the week. It has been an important time for our congregation to experience worship and fellowship outside of Sunday morning, in a way that is inviting and engaging to the community at large. In an effort to find more opportunities to connect with the community and foster fellowship in the parish, a rotation of Midweek Services was started that includes Dinner Church, Evening Vespers, Waffle Church, and Faith on Tap.
Dinner Church has been one of our most successful options in rotation for midweek services. We gather on the first Wednesday of each month for a meal and service around the table. This is a different feel to worship, but grounded in a familiar sense of liturgy. We renew our hearts around the Word of God, Christ’s Holy Supper, and the Fellowship of friends and family. We are fed in both body and soul by our time together. Dinner Church is perfect for families and offers a great opportunity for friends and families to work together as the monthly volunteers to provide the meal. A distinctive mark of the early Christian Table fellowships was that they gathered money for the poor. In that spirit, we take a collection every month for a charity in our community or around the world. In October, we’ve raised $152 for Lutheran Disaster Response.
Friends are invited to come as they are to Evening Vespers, the relaxed Wednesday evening service on the second Wednesday of each month. For some, this service is a powerful ending to their work day, a mid-week respite for meditation and reflection. Wednesday night provides the opportunity for an intimate yet informal worship experience unique from what you might expect at a Sunday morning service. At the center of the spoken liturgy is a community reflection on the evening’s bible reading. The group discussion will include some teaching about the shape and history of the text while also connecting the reading with God’s larger message. “Vespers”, a prayer service rather than a communion service/mass, received its name and originated in the monasteries when worship took place every two hours around the clock. The service generally concludes in 30-45 minutes, leaving members refreshed and centred for the days ahead.